Man caught in ’coming of age’ police sting
A MAN who responded to a "coming of age" advertisement for a teenage girl, in what turned out to be a police sting, has avoided actual jail time.
Angas Rodney McDonald, 31, "took the bait" when he responded to an advertisement by a fictional aunt and her 14-year-old niece on November 11 last year.
Crown prosecutor Matthew Hynes said McDonald and the undercover police spoke for five days and exchanged 210 messages, during which it was made clear the girl was 14.
He said the advertisement appeared to be a "coming of age" type service, and while no photos were sent or received, they arranged to meet.
When officers pounced and arrested McDonald, he offered a "self-serving" version of events and said he was meeting them only to talk them out of it, the Southport District Court was told.
McDonald pleaded guilty to using an electronic communication with intent to procure children under 16 and intentionally meeting or going to meet child.
Judge Katherine McGinness said it was clear the ad was in relation to some form of sexual contact.
"You stated that you had been with several virgins previously. You were informed that the niece was 14 years of age and yet you continued to liaise with the so-called aunt and send sexually explicit messages regarding how you would treat the child," she said.
"You had essentially been duped by a police operation. The aunt and niece were fictitious."
Under legislation, a person convicted of an offence of a sexual nature against a child under 16 must serve actual jail time unless there were exceptional circumstances.
Judge McGinness said she would not send McDonald to jail because of his background, his prospects of rehabilitation and the fact that the child was fictional. A psychologist said he did not have pedophilic traits.
He was sentenced to 18 months' jail, wholly suspended, for the same period.
Originally published as No jail for man caught in 'coming of age' sting